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Literary Devices in "Wavin' Flag" by K'naan

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by

Chris Diotte

on 24 February 2015

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Transcript of Literary Devices in "Wavin' Flag" by K'naan

By Chris and Mohommad
Literary Devices in "Wavin' Flag" by K'naan
The main theme of this song is that freedom is worth fighting for, no matter how many times you get knocked down in the process. This relates back to K'naan's history, as he came from war-torn Somalia. He has seen many of the horrors of war, and how people can have their freedom stolen away by a person more powerful than themselves. In an interview about this song he said "Without freedom there can't be peace and without peace people won't be happy."
Theme and Background
"Give me freedom, give me
fire
, give me reason, take me
higher
See the champions, take the field now, you define us, make us feel proud

In the streets our heads are lifting, as we lose our inhibition,
Celebration, it's around us, every nations, all around us

Singing forever young, singing songs underneath that sun
Let's rejoice in the beautiful game, and together at the end of the day.

We all say,"
[Chorus:]
"When I get older
I will be stronger
They'll call me 'Freedom'
Just like a wavin' flag
And then it goes back, and then it goes back
And then it goes back, and then it goes..."

- This is an example of symbolism, with a waving flag symbolizing pride in one's own culture and identity.

- "Just like a wavin' flag" is also a simile, and is used to further link a waving flag to the idea of freedom, reinforcing the theme as well.

- This repetition is used to make the idea clear
"Born to a throne, stronger than Rome
But violent-prone, poor people zone,

But it's my home, all I have known,
Where I got grown, streets we would roam"

- This is a hyperbole, paired with symbolism. Since Rome is commonly used to represent power and fighting prowess, K'naan uses this hyperbole to further show his desire of strength and freedom, saying that he will become stronger than Rome to accomplish his goal.

- This is one of the many examples of rhymes used throughout this song
"Out of the darkness, I came the farthest
Among the hardest survival
L
ea
rn from these streets, it can be bl
ea
k
,
Accept no def
ea
t, surrender retr
ea
t"

- This example of imagery is used to represent K'naan coming out of "the darkness", by which he means his dark past, and still succeeding.

- This is an example of personification, as you cannot literally learn from streets. By saying this he means to learn from his rough past, despite how horrible his past was.
Assonance!
[Bridge:]
"So we
strugglin'
Fightin'
to eat
And we
wonderin'
When we'll be free
So we patiently wait
For that fateful day
It's not far away,
But for now we say:"
- This set of words show consonance, in which the consonant sounds stay the same, while the rest of the word may vary.
[Chorus]

"So many wars, settlin' scores,
Bringing us promises, leaving us poor,

I heard them
say
, love is the
way
Love is the answer, that's what they
say"

- More rhymes
"But look how they treat us, make us believers
We fight their battles, then they deceive us

Try to control us, they couldn't hold us
'Cause we just move forward like Buffalo soldiers"

[Bridge]
[Chorus]

- This is another simile, with K'naan comparing himself to a Buffalo Soldier, an African American cavalry soldier, who were known for their strength and resolve.
K'naan's Background
- Keinan Abdi Warsame
- Poet, rapper, singer, songwriter
- Born in 1978 in Mogadishu, in southeastern Banaadir, Somalia
- Rough childhood; this area became
subject to civil war when he was 12
- Moved to Canada the next year to
pursue a musical career
- Best known for song "Wavin' Flag",
used as Coca-Cola's promotional song
for the 2010 FIFA World Cup
Full transcript